Wearnes Au­to­mo­tive Volvos: A safe bet for the younger gen­er­a­tion

Norway-Asia Business Review - - Contents - by Eric Baker

Volvos have al­ways been known for one thing—safety. And while Wearnes Au­to­mo­tive doesn’t want to change that rep­u­ta­tion, the largest group of Volvo deal­er­ships in Thai­land does want to ap­peal to a younger tar­get au­di­ence. The in­tro­duc­tion of Volvo’s new 60 plat­form, in­clud­ing the V60 wagon, S60 sedan and X60 SUV has been very suc­cess­ful in the Thai mar­ket so far, said Seah Moon Hua, the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor at Wearnes. “We will con­tinue to cham­pion the safety fea­tures of Volvo be­cause that is our core value,” said Mr Seah. “But we are also fo­cus­ing on young ex­ec­u­tives who may not have kids. That is why we are rolling out our new V40 hatch­back mod­els next quar­ter. We now of­fer a range of mod­els that are more ex­cit­ing to the younger gen­er­a­tion. They are more than just a square box; they have a wow fac­tor.” Wearnes doesn’t al­ter its brand­ing mes­sage much for Thais, but it has taken note of Thai con­sumer pri­or­i­ties, of which in­te­rior and ex­te­rior styling is the most im­por­tant. “The cars also have to come loaded with the fea­tures they want, and han­dling and safety are also pri­or­i­ties,” he said. “Volvo has con­tin­ued to de­sign safety in­no­va­tions, but some in­volve elec­tron­ics these days. We have a fea­ture that can de­tect pedes­tri­ans in or­der to avoid collisions. En­gi­neers have re­in­forced the car’s body so that it curves in­ward upon im­pact to min­i­mize the force, which re­duces the like­li­hood of in­jury. The side doors have also been re­in­forced.” The past few years, Volvo sales in Thai­land have been grow­ing by 30-40%, he said. And Mr Seah is op­ti­mistic about the fu­ture of Volvo in the king­dom for a num­ber of rea­sons. Firstly, he ex­pects Thai­land’s econ­omy to keep grow­ing at a steady pace, es­pe­cially as it be­comes more knowl­edge-based. Mr Seah also feels there is much po­ten­tial for growth in the pre­mium seg­ment. He added that he pre­dicts the new own­er­ship of Volvo by Chi­nese firms will pro­duce a greater range of more ex­cit­ing prod­ucts.

“[In] the past few years, Volvo sales in Thai­land have been grow­ing by 30-40%”

Re­mark­ably, the Sin­ga­pore-based Wearnes group has been in South­east Asia for over a century. It runs four of the seven Volvo deal­er­ships in Bangkok, and has a wide range of branches through­out the re­gion. Wearnes trum­pets this ex­pe­ri­ence in its mar­ket­ing mes­sage. “We know our prod­uct bet­ter than any­one in Thai­land,” he said. “And we know the cus­tomers that pre­fer Volvos as well, as we’ve been sell­ing here for a decade. Volvos have al­ways done well fam­i­lies that have kids, be­cause of our fo­cus on safety.” In fact, mar­ket re­search in­di­cates some Thais are not fa­mil­iar with the Volvo brand, so much of the pro­mo­tional budget this year is go­ing to­ward mar­ket­ing ac­tiv­i­ties that in­tro­duce Thais to Volvo.

“We also need to make sure we have a broader model mix so that we can ap­peal to all our cus­tomers’ needs,” said Mr Seah.

Wearnes is also the only Volvo dealer in Thai­land that of­fers diplo­mat sales, which are tar­geted at em­bassies, in­ter­na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tions and non-gov­ern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tions. Sales in this pop­u­lar seg­ment are tax- ex­empt and the cars are im­ported di­rectly from Swe­den. Or­ders take four months for de­liv­ery, and sev­eral kinds of mod­i­fi­ca­tions can be in­di­cated.

Seah Moon Hua

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Norway

© PressReader. All rights reserved.